Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 by Niles Erickson
Whether you're new to New Hampshire or Massachusetts or have lived in the area your whole life, it is a great place to buy a new home. The market is currently in great shape, the mountains and lakes region is a short ride away (as is the coast), and the greater Boston area is listed as US News' #8 on the best places to live in 2017. But buying a home is a big investment and is not something to jump into blindly. As foundation repair experts, one bit of advice we will always give to new home buyers, is to not overlook the condition of the homes foundation, whether it be on a slab or poured concrete walls. While the home may be new, it is still advisable to look for defects of any kind, from small cracks to possible signs of settlement.
And it's not all just about foundation cracks. Should the new home have a crawlspace, buyers will need to consider how well the crawlspace is protected, ensuring it is well insulated and not at risk of becoming moldy or full of moisture. It's also worth asking the home builder or developer if there is a high water table in the area, which could mean having a wet basement problem in the future. Likewise, if the grade of the soil surrounding the home is not done properly, water that does not flow away from the home could potentially end up entering the basement through the walls or floor.
As advancements are made in technology, and as home building as an industry develops, more and more home builders are going to begin taking more measures to ensure their homes are of the highest quality. Not just with technology in the home, but starting from the ground up. With that in mind, there are some common foundation issues which could be avoided if steps were taken during the building process, issues such as;
Why do foundations settle? The answer usually has little to do with the foundation itself, but tends to be related to the condition of the soil surrounding the foundation. Soil is susceptible to shifting, expanding, washing out and simply moving around, no matter how well they are compacted. One step home builders can take to eliminate the risk of settlement issues is the installation of Push Piers or Helical Piers.
While these pier systems can be installed (and often are) to repair existing foundations, they can also be installed during the new construction stage. Doing so beforehand would be less costly, and would give any home buyer piece of mind, as it ensures the concrete foundation is fully supported by piers reaching depths well beyond any problem soils. Each of our foundation pier systems is available in both black steel and galvanized steel, which allows for long-term strength and corrosion resistance. All of our pier systems are installed year-round with a 25-year manufacturer's warranty, as well as coming with our own performance and installation warranty.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has become the second-leading cause of lung cancer -- second only to cigarette smoke.
All homes are different-- from the style, material, and color, to the location -- and yet there are also plenty of similarities. One similarity that every home shares is its potential to have high radon levels. Whether a home is young or old, radon can enter and build up to unhealthy amounts, making a home seemingly dangerous.
So what can be done to prevent high levels of radon in a new home? During construction, a pipe system can be easily installed, running from the basement floor or slab, extending up beyond the roof line of the home. A radon system can be installed from day one into this pipe, or at a later date if the homeowner finds their home does have high levels of radon after testing. Installing the entire piping system is possible after construction, and can be done in homes of all ages. That being said, installing the systems during the construction phase is an easier process, and gives any new home buyer some assurance that radon will not be a concern in the future.
While crawlspaces are not too common with new home construction these days, they do still exist. The problem with crawlspaces, is that they are often times left exposed, which can lead to moisture control issues, drafty floors, or they become safe havens for critters and pests. Before selling a home which has been built with a crawlspace, home builders would be wise to take the appropriate steps to protect the home.
Moisture barrier systems can be installed to protect the home using the following steps:
If you are looking to buy a new home in the New Hampshire or Massachusetts area, be sure to take a thorough look at the homes foundation. Ask the builder if there is a crawlspace anywhere, and if so did they install a moisture barrier system. Likewise, it's recommended you ask the builder if any preventative measures were taken to deal with high radon levels, should they be present. Lastly, if the lot being purchased required large amounts of fill, it's worth asking the home builder if there have been any signs of settlement, or if a pier system was used to prevent any possible settlement in the future.
Purchasing an older home which has some foundation issues? There are solutions! Visit www.ericksonfoundations.com for more info.